Reports are pouring in across media in the United States concerning the scandal initiated last year by GM’s ignition switch recall, which had been late at least a decade and concealed from the public and regulators in the mean time.
The New York Times recently reported the US authorities might be preparing charges for criminal behavior for the company, which could lead the US Justice Department to negotiate a record penalty for the automaker. The settlement could be reached this summer, according to people briefed on the inquiry, said the Times, with the final number expected to swing above the 1.2 billion dollars paid a year ago by Toyota after it acknowledged it concealed its unintended acceleration defects from 2010. Additionally, Bloomberg found from a source that has knowledge of the investigation the US government is also mulling charges against the company or its employees over the defective handling of the switch issue. Currently, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York is sifting through the evidence to see if anyone at the automaker has broken the law.
The defective ignition switch scandal was triggered last year when the largest US automaker acknowledged it was late at least a decade in recalling 2.6 million older cars equipped with flawed ignition switches. So far, more than 100 fatalities have been tied to the defect. The decision on how to proceed is not imminent, said the person, who opted to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the investigation, saying there are three possibilities: the already reported prosecution agreement that includes a huge penalty and changes to the way the company operates, charging the automaker itself or individuals that work or have been working for the carmaker.